Short answer: It is of preference that a Paediatrician be part of the Multi-Disciplinary team.
Paediatricians specialise in the health, growth and development of babies, children, and teenagers, and can assess and manage mental illness affecting children and young adolescents.
As Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness, with around half of the deaths occurring because of physical complications as a result of having the eating disorder, the Paediatrician, alongside the mental health team, is in the best place to recognise and treat these conditions.
In clinic, we are seeing children as young as 8, and quite commonly between the ages of 11-13 presenting with an eating disorder.
What would a Paediatrician specifically do for my child?
Having a Paediatrician on board as part of your Multi-disciplinary team is of value for the assessment and management of acute malnutrition and other complications which are as a result of the eating disorder [e.g. heart function, dehydration, loss of menses]. They also are a crucial piece of the puzzle for addressing long term complications such as delayed growth / growth stunting, delays in puberty and bone health.
The role of the Paediatrician during Family Based Treatment (FBT)2
During Family Based Treatment [FBT], the family are seen as the best resource for getting their child well, having the responsibility of re-feeding, guided by a trained therapist. The role of the Paediatrician is to monitor and manage medical complications and initiate a Psychiatrist to come on board to manage co-morbid mental health issues if needed. They are also responsible for coordinating with the mental health team [therapist, psychologist, GP, Dietitian]. Should your child become medically unwell to the point that they will need a hospital admission your Paediatrician may be able to assist in the process of this.
If you are receiving care under a Medicare referral – Eating Disorder Plan (EDP), a Paediatrician will need to review your child’s progress to access further rebates beyond the initial 20 Psychology sessions. They will then need to assess whether your child is eligible for the remaining 20 sessions, of which they are then able to allocate a total of 40 sessions within 12 months.
Where to from here?
Whilst we understand that it can be difficult to get into specialised Paediatrician straight away, it can be helpful to start by getting your child’s name on any available wait list.
Speak to our experienced Client Care Coordinators if you would like to discuss which Paediatrician’s are in your local area and how to best get in contact with their practice.
Phone: 4362 3443
Wallsend and Tuggerah NSW Australia.